How do we define reliability? The regulations give us some guidance, particularly Part M and Part CAMO.
Put simply, an aircraft, system or component can be described as reliable, if under a defined operating environment, and all the following three conditions are met:
· It performs its functions when it's required to do so.
· It performs its functions for a defined period.
· And it performs its functions to the standard required.
Part M says, “the purpose of a reliability programme is to ensure that the aircraft maintenance programme tasks are effective, and their periodicity is adequate”.
There's requirements depending on the aircraft type and operations to actually include a reliability programme as part of your Approved Maintenance Programme. Also, the requirements are that your maintenance programme is subjected to a periodic review with a look towards ensuring that it remains effective. Without the ability to assess the reliability of your aircraft fleet and understand the data that you are gathering, you will find it difficult to assess the effectiveness of your maintenance programme. Where the maintenance requirements for the aircraft have been based around reliability philosophies, there is a requirement to include the ongoing management of the maintenance programme to consider any reliability or health monitoring requirements.
Most organisations are very good at gathering data but perhaps not so good at understanding what data they should be gathering or having the ability to analyse and make data-driven decisions based on this expert analysis.
So, if you're going to have to invest in reliability monitoring to maintain regulatory compliance, you might as well ensure that you're getting best effect from your efforts. So how can you do this?
Throughout the operating period of an aircraft many things will change that can affect the reliability. Not all of these are negative; often through the embodiment of service bulletins for example, you can increase the reliability of the aircraft when you measure it against your particular operational requirements and context.
UK and European regulations require operators to monitor the effectiveness of their maintenance programme. Looking deeper into the guidance material you'll find that there's a requirement to have competent staff to do this, particularly when it comes to the grey area of making engineering judgement whilst at all times ensuring that safety is not compromised and ideally is in fact improved or enhanced.
There are many dependencies in interactions that will either contribute to an effective maintenance programme and with that a high degree of reliability, or some aspects of these interactions may compromise reliability with that safety. Being able to identify these interactions and accurately assess their effect on the operator’s AMP is a particular competence. Using this, delegates will be able to put the measurement of reliability into an operational context.
Together with the other technical courses in our CAMO pathway, this reliability skills course will build the competence of those personnel by allowing them to confidently define reliability for your operation, as well as being able to understand the data and to make effective, safe decisions when it comes to deciding whether or not the maintenance programme is delivering, or if changes need to be made.
During this course delegates will explore the many facets of the subject, starting with defining what reliability is and what it is for their operations. They'll then look at what must be achieved to ensure compliance, before finally moving on from basic compliance to a performing situation, giving maximum benefit from the effort and resource that's being applied. Guided by your expert consultants we'll explore sources of data, what does that data mean through applying analysis demonstration and presentation of the data, and that all important application of engineering judgement. By the end of the course delegates will be able to decide if the amp is effective as it is or if any changes need to be made. Effective control of these changes and monitoring to ensure that the effect of one change does not have a knock-on effect on other maintenance tasks or aspects of operations, is key to ensuring the operation remains safe at this element. This will be covered through the application of practical exercises, lessons identified and facilitated discussion throughout the course.
Applied intelligently, a well-managed reliability programme will not only support the reliability of an aircraft or the operator’s fleet but would also integrate within the wider management system, bringing benefits when it comes to the costs of maintenance, the costs of AOG situations, stock holding and broader operational expenditure.
If you'd like to learn more about this topic, we would recommend booking onto our TT19M02 - Continuing Airworthiness – Effective Reliability Analysis course.